Portfolio feedback needed please.

Hello everyone,

For the past 4 months since graduating, I have been doing major overhauls of older projects. It almost feels like I haven’t graduated!

I am satisfied somewhat with the result, even if I struggled to find a layout that I felt was the best for displaying my work; where it didn’t seem too cluttered together. But now that I am done, I feel I have way too many pages.

Judging from past critiques of recent portfolios that were posted on here, the consensus seems to be that having more QUALITY work is better than having very little, especially that which shows “process”. But I am wondering if some of my boards can be condensed a bit more, or have two boards combined into one. Any feedback is welcome.

So far I have only three polished projects, but am working on one final one to add in the next 2 weeks. I just wanted to get the ball rolling so I can apply for some internships here in NYC, where I am currently residing.

Thanks everyone! Don’t hold back. I can take constructive criticism (a must for any budding designer!)

http://issuu.com/christopher_santos/docs/portfolio OR

Hello again hello… (sorry, Neil Diamond fan here)

I just wanted to add a Behance link to my online presence to see if anyone thinks the layout is better? http://www.behance.net/chris_santos_id

I really like Behance’s ability to scroll downwards instead of click, click clicking to get from one page to the next.

I don’t like that you can’t zoom in on images, like you can on Coroflot, but I figured I’d keep both Coroflot and Behance for now and see what kind of traffic I get.

Again, any feedback would be extremely helpful. Thank you everyone.

Great to see your work. especially since you have had a few discussions going regarding your portfolio before.

As stated already in earlier threads, I think you have too many slides. At least for a “passive” presentation where you are not there to spin a yarn and fill all that white space with background, thoughts and information.
In a presentation, I think your slides would work great. The initial layouts build suspens and are not packed with info, distracting from what you are saying.
However, for a portfolio I’d say, scrap them and re-adjust to keep the page count smaller. You have already identified, that you want as little clicking as possible.

Behance surprisingly is a much more pleasing option to brows your work.

In terms of your work itself, I like it. The Coffee maker is a neat project and you show it well.
Really good model making, sketching and CAD work. One thought I had, in the quest to cut down slides, it feels that you might be able to cut down the amount rendered images of your object. They feel just a tad redundant.

While really nice, the projects appear a little one dimensional and dare I say, monochromatic. Maybe you could consider throwing in some smaller projects to jolt some extra life into you portfolio.
A little bit like a palate cleanser inbetween the big projects. A cleaver idea, quickly designed. Maybe something in a different medium, material or scale?

I have noticed that those smaller projects that instantly resonate and communicate can be very effective in keeping the attention of whoever is reviewing the portfolio.

Over all though, I think it is really strong and well done.


Hello. I know! After asking so many questions over the past 4 years, I finally have something to show! I must say, I think all my research on these forums and postings have helped a ton. Not to sound cliche, but this site truly is a god-send. Thanks thus far to anyone reading this, who over those past 4 hellish years, have contributed to my wealth of ID knowledge, including you, Bepster!

Ok, thanks for chiming in! I do see what you mean by “passive”; where I am not there, in person, filling in the details for the viewer. The Coroflot page might be a bit much with its layout and seeing so much information at one time for the viewer to digest. I just assumed from all my research on the forums, that one needed to display as much “process”, but just now, it hit me that possibly that “process” doesn’t have to show ALL my research but it could show models, drawings, cad, etc. A bit of the in-between but not too much to overwhelm but not too little to underwhelm.

But in essence, as a whole, it would be presentation ready for an interview, as it reads now? So page number isn’t a concern if it’s in person, right? As long as its a good presentation and not overwhelming? Only when it has to do with online presence, does page count matter? However, for a portfolio I’d say, scrap them and re-adjust to keep the page count smaller. Bepster, when you mean “portfolio” are you talking about the online versions vs. in person “presentations”? Just making sure I follow.

By the way, I am a HUGE Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison fan. I love minimalism and white/beige/grey color schemes but I understand what you mean. I do have some colorful concept renderings and also a final project I am working on that does come in a few fashion colors. I do agree that I need something to break up the whiteness of what I have currently up. I will work on that! The color schemes I ended up choosing for my products thus far were intentional (not because I despise color), as most of these housewares I wanted to keep elegant and classic. I felt color would have detracted from their form/design. Color would certainly apply to my upcoming project I am working on, so I will address that there. I agree though with what you mean.

Bepster, thanks again for all the good feedback. It brought a smile to my face this morning as I sip on my coffee (made in a percolator, by the way).


Just wanted to let you know I tweaked my Behance page and added a colorful, simple project: not much process shown but it’s just to break it up a bit. I also cut down on my initial boards somewhat. I know it still seems like a lot but somehow for Behance, it really works, as you mentioned before. I still have more to show in person, if it gets to that point. Thanks for the suggestion. Let me know, when you have time, what you think. Thanks!

Anyone else have any suggestions, feedback?

One entire week and only one person offered feedback out of 300 plus that have viewed my work.

Overall, I think you’ve got some really good work, the content if definitely there.

I do have a few issues though (most of them are just personal preference):

  • The lack of colour on most of the pages doesn’t really do it for me. I appreciate that you are trying to get your personality across but I think you can stay true to yourself without alienating potential employers or clients. For instance, you could add a flash of colour here and there to highlight key points/ideas etc, which would also help to follow your process.

  • You mention in the whisk project that you narrowed the design direction down to three ideas. I’ve got to admit it took me a while to work out what these were! I think you need to help the viewer making your key ideas and decisions stand out a little more, just to make it a little easier (and quicker) to follow.

  • Another thing I noticed was that, over the course of the 4 projects you show the same things but in a slightly different context. Four detailed projects that show a very similar process isn’t really showing me anything new. Once, I’ve seen how well you apply the design process I don’t necessarily want to see this same process again and again in the same detail. Unless, the project has a different core focus e.g apparel, UI, furniture etc. I found that I got bogged down and started skipping slides (probably some interesting insights but I don’t know because I didn’t read it!). All of your projects are basically home appliances?! It’d be more interesting to see a broader range of projects.

Hope this feedback is useful and doesn’t come across as too harsh.


Hey CJ,

I was one of the 300. I tend to agree with many of Bepster’s comments (that’s why I refrained from responding). Here are my thoughts on the portfolio presentation (not a design crit on the products).

-I went to http://santos_id.prosite.com/. I think this is a simple and effective page. Personally, I think a touch of personality would help, but that’s an opinion. It’s solid.

  • Whisk Project: I think the boards titled Observation-Validation are great, the template makes your process easy to follow, not too wordy, good hierarchy in content. I’m not sure if the scrolling up and down makes the slides after Validation seem cluttered, or if it’s the lack of template/borders. That makes the final slides seem like too much information, even though I think the content is fine. Overall I think it’s a good project, presented well, and it covers the entire process really well.

-Oral Care- Cool project, I’m a bit jealous as I had a personal project like this in mind for some time! It’s a more interesting project than the whisk. I think you could show more research and form inspiration. It’s not hard to follow, but I enjoyed the page templates in the Whisk project better. Too many unnecessary and unflattering renders. Maybe instead of doing full-blown renders for every feature, try floating in whitespace or contour lines.

-Intercom- Enjoy the template. Glad you mentioned that you questioned what an intercom is. There is a disconnect between the problem and the opportunity/goal. Why is the intercom the answer? The focus? You might tighten this up. Will people use intercoms if they are sexier? What do people want? This is getting into design crit, but you might present it differently or include other research to validate your design decisions. I didn’t find storyboard helpful, and like the Whisk I think the boards lose consistency making it feel like too much. Too many renders trying to be high quality that really aren’t.

-Tea Pot- Cool , interesting project. Like the insight board, might add a user or a quote to emphasize. This works with Key-findings too. I’m exhausted. It’s a good project. See comments above.

Like Bepster said, a short project or two may be nice and refreshing mixed in with these. These would make great project books, but are a little lengthy for the initial evaluation. That may be why 300 people didn’t know where to begin (or didn’t finish reviewing all of the projects online. The input I gave above is getting pretty nitty gritty, I think you show that you are fully capable and balanced. I got that feeling pretty quickly from your work. Keep that in mind. Message me if you have questions that I can better answer. I am also in Wisconsin too. Good Luck


Thanks much for the feedback! And no, you weren’t harsh at all. They were all constructive comments! You can’t be a good designer without handling opinions.

I will try to answer your key points:

you could add a flash of colour here and there to highlight key points/ideas etc, which would also help to follow your process.
Hmm, I see your point, because I don’t want potential employers to assume I am all about minimalism, but at the same time, I didn’t want to bog my portfolio down with too many graphic elements, as I am trying to sell products, not graphic design, but I might have to consider what you said. It could somehow work against me.

I think you need to help the viewer making your key ideas and decisions stand out a little more, just to make it a little easier (and quicker) to follow.
I see what you mean. Meanwhile, I was assuming that it WAS easy to follow but if you didn’t grasp it, I am failing. I will try to update it later and try again. What might read well to me (because I understand my project) might not read well to others who don’t know my project. I will see how I can modify that and help it flow better. By the way, there were only TWO points. One dealing with ergonomics and the other with placement. Hmm, I wonder where you got three points with the whisk? Which means, maybe my information layout truly is confusing.

over the course of the 4 projects you show the same things but in a slightly different context. Four detailed projects that show a very similar process isn’t really showing me anything new.
Jack, I always thought one should show process from ALL projects, especially if one is a student? Is that not what we should demonstrate, that we actually thought out every project in our student portfolio? I just was afraid that if I left any thought process out, it might make a viewer assume I didn’t care for it. So you think showing process for maybe one in-depth project, like maybe my coffee maker, would be enough? The rest of the projects can just be ideation, renderings, beauty shot? I did that for my “oral hygiene” project; kept it simple. I also thought maybe if I did show it all; the user can skip and scroll over it, if they choose to; hence the beauty of the scroll bar. Just to give them the option.

Maybe I should just leave all that PROCESS for my in-person presentation portfolio. Bepster said the same thing. Do you agree?

All of your projects are basically home appliances?! It’d be more interesting to see a broader range of projects.
Yes, I do have a affinity for housewares (as that is where I’d probably like to end up, either a corporation that produces them or a consultancy with a mix of housewares/consumer electronics. My dental project is probably a “medical device”, so a mix of housewares and consumer electronics, no?

In closing, when thinking of projects to delve into in school, I chose what most interests me; consumer electronics-housewares. I definitely know I can design lawnmowers and tractors, so I just hope an employer doesn’t jump to conclusions about me, based on what they see.

Thanks again, Jack. I look forward to more feedback from you. I appreciate your time.


Thanks for commenting. I hope my persistence didn’t come off as bossy, as I was merely trying to get some good feedback, be a bit humorous in the process (it backfired?) and now I am realizing why most didn’t bother to chime in; that maybe most of the viewers agreed with Bepster as you mentioned. I like a variety of opinions as I am always open to them. I hate people that get defensive when they ask for opinions. I am certainly not one of them! Oh, and I promise to keep my day job and stay out of comedic ventures. :slight_smile:

Ok, thanks for that lengthy feedback. It truly was helpful and reflected exactly most of Bepsters and Jack’s comments. I might have to slim it down a bit. It’s just that again, going back to older comments I have heard from professionals, like "yo (Michael) and other seasoned moderators, that they would be turned off if there wasn’t any process shown in a student’s online portfolio. Am I misquoting Michael? Michael, if you are reading this, I hope I didn’t misinterpret your words. I have been pretty much reading every comment on this board for months now, especially those directed at other student portfolio critiques; and that is where I based most of my portfolio content decisions from.

So you had a similar idea for a floss dispenser? Too funny. I always believed that there is no such thing as an original idea; as most of the time, just when you think you have something original, you can find it online; just maybe configured different or with a different design. ID is definitely a fascinating field; hence why I love it so.

Oh, Ryan, I am no longer in WI. In NYC now, but I do miss the peace and quiet of rural Menomonie. Ugh, these neighbors of mine are NOISY!! The only “noise” in Menomonie is from the crickets. Thanks again, Ryan.

Another one of the 300 here haha. I enjoyed looking through it before, so figured I’d post something as well.

I think your layout, typography and overall presentation is beautiful, and I like the clever titles. The whole thing could do with a bit of colour however. The low contrast works well for the text on the side, not so much for the introductory pages. The storyboard for the intercom stands out as a bit of a sore visual thumb.

Regarding colour… It doesn’t have to be more elements. You have a lot of photos in grayscale, even though they might be perfectly fine just a bit colour treated, say slightly lowered saturation or simply colour tinted. Maybe add one or two colours to some ideation sketches to highlight important ones.

So yeah… saved as inspiration. As ryan said, it’s getting a bit into the nitty gritty, which is good feedback in itself.

good luck,

[edit: colours → photos]


Cheers! Thanks for the feedback. Boy, I asked for feedback and now I am getting it and my fingers are exhausted!

I love your idea of highlighting with some color elements my sketches, to show which ones I preferred the most! I will try that out. Thanks!

I think you are right about that storyboard. I just thought it might help but I did feel a bit uneasy about showing it, because it probably wasn’t necessary. I should have followed my gut instinct.

I will work on that one. So maybe a better storyboard or none at all? Probably is just redundant to have one, as everyone knows how “intercoms” work.

Thanks Nik!

Keep up the persistence, no offence taken. You should care about how your work is interpreted.

Your process is good, and I think it’s displayed really well. Like I said, I lose interest at the end of the projects when your template vanishes. The consistency is nice, and when it’s lost the content becomes kind of overwhelming. I also think you might consider less renderings (at the end of the project). That’s all.

You want to show process. Show it complete in as many projects as you can show it well. If it’s not well done (or wasn’t possible with the project brief) don’t bother forcing it. Use those kinds of projects to show your abilities (Cad, Sketching, rough models). There is just a little balance where some shorter projects will keep the viewers interest before the next lenghty project is show. You can always invite people to view the complete project book if they ask.


Same as what Bepster said. I will have to cut down on a few renderings, so it doesn’t seem redundant.

As far as process, I guess overwhelming the viewer with process for EVERY project, might be a bit too much if they are merely going to my site to get an idea about me and my work. Again, my fear was that employers might be turned off if they didn’t see it all at once. I will have to consider the feedback on here and then decide if all that process works against me.

Oh, and that dental project was my last project. You do have a point; I should revisit that one and employ the same template I used in the other ones, even if it is a shorter, project with hardly any process. Good catch. Consistency does matter.

Thanks again, Ryan.

colours in grayscale… wow. fixed.

Regarding the storyboard… My main gripe is that it’s not up to par with the rest of the portfolio. But yeah, it seems a bit excessive as well. What would you get if you limited yourself to, say 2 key images? 1 image?


Do you mean get the story board down to 2 images to explain the story?



That was my idea yes. I’m thinking it might focus it a bit more, if you limit yourself to a few key images. At the moment there is a bit of fluff in there. It’s only an idea though.